By Steve Breazeale
Last season the Dana Hills football team lost to Laguna Hills late in the season in heartbreaking fashion, dampening their hopes at an outright Sea View League title. On Friday the two teams played at Dana Hills High, where the Dolphins shook off any old memories of last year with a wire to wire 34-10 win.
A big night from senior quarterback Mac Vail and the balanced offense, coupled with a defense that is holding opponents to an average of 13 points per contest over their last four games, send the Dolphins in to their final game of the season with momentum. That game will be on November 8 at San Juan Hills (8-1, 3-0).
Vail had arguably his best game of the season against the Hawks, completing 14 of 20 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Three Dolphins receivers had 60 or more yards on the night, highlighted by senior Sean Schulte’s game-high 119.
The aerial attack was consistent, but it was a 56-yard touchdown run by junior Brian Scott that got Dana Hills on the board early in the first quarter.
Laguna Hills (3-6, 1-3) countered nine minutes later when senior Khephren Spigner blocked and returned a Dolphins field goal attempt 40 yards for a score to make it 7-7. The Hawks got the ball right back after the Dana Hills kick return team fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but they were unable to convert the turnover into points.
The next two Dana Hills offensive drives ended in touchdown passes from Vail to Schulte and junior Ted Fitzgerald, from 39 and nine yards out, respectively.
With a 21-7 lead to build off, the Dolphins defense remained solid. Laguna Hills did not gain a first down until three minutes before halftime. At the half, the Hawks had 37 total yards of offense.
Schulte caught his second touchdown of the night six minutes into the third quarter. Vail let go a high arching pass, hoping to find Schulte, who was tightly covered by a Laguna Hills defender. Both players leaped at the same moment, but the ball came down just over Schulte’s shoulder and he carried it into the end zone to make it 28-10.
Reid Lundeen caught a 63-yard touchdown pass with three minutes remaining to close out the scoring. Receiver Drew Falk had a team-high six catches and racked up 91 yards.
“I had all day to throw so I attribute a lot of the success to the offensive line,” Vail said. “At the same time I’m blessed to have four guys who can go up top and make a play in space.”
The Dolphins are now in position to play for an outright league title. San Juan Hills and their own talented quarterback, Jacob Gibson, and receiving corps will be what stands in their way.